Thursday, September 24, 2015

Devon, Part 2 (North and South Molton and Heasley Mill)

View from the main street in North Molton.
The next morning after breakfast we braved the hedges again and drove into the town of North Molton to do a little family history research and exploration. We had some parcels to send home so we went to the local post office/market first. The grocery store was about the size of a small gas station convenience store with a tiny room at the back for the post office. It smelled heavenly from the Cornish pasties that were in a heated case behind the cash register.

We wanted to buy some of this treacle and golden syrup (aren't the tins pretty) but
ultimately decided it would be heavy to mail home.
Courgettes are actually zucchini. They must have run out and the tomatoes took over.

We spoke to the cashier who was polite but a bit suspicious when we asked her about a couple of names that Clare had given us. She wanted to know why we were asking and when we told her that we had ancestors from the area and Clare had told us these men were in the historical society she warmed right up and was very helpful. She told us that store's proprietor, a man named Collin, was a local history expert and would be more help than any of those other names. 

Collin reminded me a little of a couple of my great uncles with his big bald head, only quite a bit younger. We liked him immediately and he was a wonderful help in pointing us to a couple of spots where we could find more information. He suggested we try the local parish church first and then maybe make our way to Heasley Mill where my great great Grandma Blake's grandmother had lived in a cottage on the village green as a widow. We bought a few things for lunch and snacks and thanked the cashier for being so gracious and helpful. She was so cute and seemed pleased by the kind words and told us that she had "tried to speak proper" for us. I was almost surprised she didn't do a little curtsy.

I loved the green trim and the dragon guarding the front door of this house.

The Methodist Church

The Parish Church--North Molton All Saints Church

When we saw this, we had to peek through. As my sister said, "There's nothing
so tempting as a partially opened gate."
Looking through family history papers.

A royal dead dude, as Bill and Ted might say.
When I picked up the receiver in this phone box there was a dial tone. Amazing, right?

After poking around the cemetery for awhile and gleaning quite a bit of useful information, we drove on to Heasley Mill. It is a tiny little hamlet with some historical buildings that have been converted into homes. There are homes in the former mill, mill house and blacksmith shop and there is an old school house that has been converted to a town hall and a public footpath that we had to explore.
The Mill
The Mill House
The Blacksmith Shop

Have you ever eaten wild strawberries? They are so flavorful and sweet.
Gate to the public footpath. We are going to publish a coffee table book of gates,
 right after we finish the one we are working on of phone boxes.

I am 98% sure that a talking animal lives in this tree. He probably wears a waistcoat and takes cream with his tea.
The footpath was quite steep and was definitely one of those roads less traveled that Frost is always talking about.
We didn't venture far--too many thorns and brambles, but we did see a hawthorn tree which was a highlight.
I'm in love with this phone box. I couldn't get enough of it so I had to take another photo from the other angle.
The village green.
We think this little gate and steps might have led up to the row of widows' cottages.
There were some ruins of foundations too.

The old school house turned town hall.
We were able to speak with the lady that lives in what was once the blacksmith's and she shared what she knew about the history of the place. It was getting to be afternoon so we decided we needed to go into South Molton to make some copies of a book that Collin had loaned us. South Molton wasn't too far and although it is still a small town it is a lot bigger than its sister city of North Molton.

Sweet Shop
We couldn't find the copy shop but we did find a sweet shop where we bought some licorice toffees and nougat cake and I was able to get a power converter in town since I had accidentally left ours in the outlet in Stow. We were also able to find a larger grocery store where we picked up a few things for dinner--rolls, cheese and fruity couscous. We asked two men with really bad teeth in the checkout line and they told us where to get copies.

Church in South Molton.

I can't help myself.
We investigated the town a bit more and then drove back to Sannacott. Clare had a date that night--her first since her husband passed away two years ago, so she offered us the use of her kitchen and any food we could find. We ate our dinner of rolls and cheese and couscous and had some of her cherries and peaches at her big farmhouse table. We opened the bottle of black currant Ribena that Mom had purchased at Collin's store that morning and had some for a nightcap then headed up to wash out some clothes in the sink and then to bed. It had been overcast all day so we didn't think we had much chance of seeing the stars that night either. It's probably just as well because I think I was almost asleep before my head hit the pillow.

To Be Continued. . .

1 comment:

Tanya said...

hahaha, I shouldn't have laughed at the bad teeth comment, but my kids have been on a Studio C kick so I couldn't help it. Aside from that, the pictures are gorgeous!! I love the gates and signs and all the GREEN. And the phone boxes seem randomly placed! The rock/stone buildings are gorgeous and the view with all the hedges dividing the fields...! Yep! I love this!